The battle for New York’s three commercial gaming licenses for the downstate region gains more traction. This week, Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry introduced a proposal, which if passed, would allow the New York Mets owner to use at least 20 acres of land for his casino proposal in Queens. The area in question is located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, consisting of asphalt parking lots.
If passed, act A5688 would enable the city to enter into an agreement with New Green Willets, LLC, which is Mr. Cohen’s lobbying firm. Provided that it happens, the owner of the New York Mets would be allowed to use the land as the foundation of a gaming site, as well as commercial, retail, entertainment, hospitality and recreational developments.
Mr. Cohen revealed his interest in bringing a casino property next to Citi Field a while ago but is yet to announce a gaming partner for his project. The owner of the Mets wants to transform 50 acres of Flushing parkland into a multi-purpose entertainment site. But, A5688 states that it would give Mr. Cohen at least 20 acres for development.
In order for the proposal to move forward, the city of New York must dedicate an amount equal to or greater than the fair market value of the parklands being discontinued towards the purchase of new parkland and/or capital improvements to existing parklands and recreational facilities within the borough of Queens. Also, if the casino construction does not start within 15 years, the parklands will revert back.
If passed by the Assembly, the act would go into motion right away. But still, Cohen must undergo the licensing process, as any other candidate Meanwhile, Assemblyman Aubry said that nothing herein shall be construed as intended to preempt any provision of article 13 of the racing, pari-mutuel wagering and breeding law. This was in reference to a statute that pertains to Destination Resort Gaming.
Despite the potential boost for the bid, the assemblyman kept his distance from the project and said that the casino is important to the city, but not that much to him. It should also be mentioned that not everyone is in contention with the site, as earlier this month, protestors rallied to speak against the idea of a gaming property in Queens.
Plenty of Competition
In order for Cohen to realize his plan of a Citi Field casino, he would need to overcome some serious competition. This includes a bid from Caesars Entertainment, Roc Nation, and SL Green, which teamed up for a casino in Times Square. Their initiative was backed by a group of theatre workers, musicians, small business owners, hotel operators and construction unions.
Furthermore, gambling giant Las Vegas Sands has also set sights on a potential gaming amenity in Long Island. The company’s bid would pursue the development of a multi-billion-dollar hospitality, and entertainment project on land currently occupied by the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The operator already has some agreements in place for the lease, provided that it wins one of the licenses.
Source: Lucas, Grant “Assembly Proposal Carves Out 20 Acres Of Parkland For Potential NY Casino In Queens” PlayNY, March 23, 2023